How can we prepare for UPSC by Laxman Tiwari, Rank 176 CSE- 2018

I’d let you all guys to understand that I even have been a bit of average student throughout my life, never topped any exam. I graduated in politics , with average marks, in 2018. And PSIR was my optional subject. I took Prelims, Wrote mains, appeared for test just at the age of 21 with a thing in my mind that how can we prepare for upsc. I was just a child among the veteran aspirants who never entertained me seriously before the result was out! So a basic lesson and the very first thing , Never take anyone for granted or weak in the battlefield. During my preparation, I learned that the Civil Services Exam transforms one’s personality in every aspect. We get to understand tons of things which are around us and that we never knew about . It teaches the sort of environment we sleep in and also broadens our opinions, beliefs. to start with. I told myself that i’ll not be a official but I’d definitely be a responsible citizen of this country.

I will be able to break the whole exam in Prelims, Mains and Interview then elaborate on each of them and how can we prepare for UPSC. There’s plethora of book lists on internet as we all know, so I’d specialize in the implementation part.

How to prepare for upscPrelims

Prelims is that the very dynamic and really fluid a part of all three stages. Unlike mains, we don’t have any defined syllabus here. Success rate at this stage is below 1% making it a Cut-throat or a very high competition. We will find that a lot of aspirants who have appeared for test previously and even Selected, for that matter, often fail to clear prelims. this will be attributed to the character of the exam. So what causes you to stand out here? I found following points that were indispensable for my success:

  • Previous years’ question papers to analyse the pattern of the exam and to know the character of questions asked.
  • Reading and revising basic books (like NCERTS). many an times we mark the solution wrong as we lack understanding. This will be avoided by giving due consideration to basic books.
  • Keep standard books minimum and skim them a minimum of 3-4 times before the exam. Try to have conceptual understanding of what you’re reading as questions are generally application-based.
  • Current affairs is instrumental for fulfillment in prelims. Have insight about major happenings around you. you can refer monthly magazine of any institute or you can make notes from Newspaper (I didn’t roll in the hay but you can if it’s working for you)
  • Revision plays the most vital a part in the preparation. Reading 10 books just once , one should attempt to read 1 book for ten times. Keep study material limited and revise right thing at the proper time before the exam. Hamari Naukari material are often useful here.
  • Solving Test papers is crucial to pump the inertia and to make your fear get away . Solve a minimum of 40-45 test papers of reputed institutes so that the main exam should appear a bit like any other mock test.
  • Take CSAT very seriously. I do know many aspirants who scored decently in GS(General Studies) but did not make through CSAT. And this year’s CSAT paper speaks for itself. It says loud and clear, Don’t take me lightly.
    Don’t jump on to solving test papers simply because others do so. you’ll get less marks and feel disappointed.
  • Have some basic knowledge beforehand then start the test process.
  • Take tests to rectify your mistakes and to understand your weaknesses and to not judge yourself with the marks you’re getting.
  • Use sense within the examination hall. There’ll be around 20 questions which may be solved just by applying sense .
  • Your time dedicated to a specific subject should be supported Input-Output approach. For example , you’ll devote longer to Polity, Economy, Environment etc because questions asked from these section are tend to be more likely than Art n culture, SnT. Prelims of CSE and Forest services is same, so questions from environment section would, naturally, tend to be more in number. Prepare it thoroughly.
  • Give a minimum of 3 months to the prelims seriously. Leave mains alone as you would like to clear prelims so as to write down mains.


This is the “Main” exam in true sense which ultimately will decide Rank, Service and Cadre you get so should always have a plan how to prepare for UPSC. Here, success rate is extremely high as compared to prelims but you’ve got to compete with the candidates having almost same knowledge domain . Small differences create huge gap. Hence, even an attempt to fetch 1 extra mark in each question which goes to make a really huge gap between you and the crowd.

GS-1, GS-2 & GS-3

  • Read basic books and add some standard books. The knowledge that you’ve gathered during prelims preparation goes to assist you in these papers.
  • Try to make short notes on each single topic mentioned in the syllabus. This may assist you revising the static part in very smooth manner.
  • Have conceptual understanding of every topic in order you’ll write answers in the prescribed word limit and deadline .
  • Current affairs will enrich your knowledge. Attempt to link the dots of Current affairs and therefore the static portion to ascertain the broader picture.
  • Use facts invariably throughout the papers. you should make diagrams, Flowcharts, Graphs, Maps etc to form sure that your structure appears well.
  • Gather some knowledge before answer writing practice.
  • Practice answer writing to make sure that you simply complete the paper within prescribed time. it’ll also help know one’s weaknesses and strengths. Answer writing helps in articulating our views properly and good articulation is usually rewarding.
  • Focus less on reading and more on writing because at the end of the day you’ve got to try to to a hell of writing during mains. So writing will help preparing not only at the extent of intellect but also at the extent of psychology.
  • Have a glance at the previous years’ question papers to understand the sort and nature of questions that UPSC asks.
  • Don’t leave any page of your answer sheet blank. Attempt all questions. Even if you’ve got slight knowledge about the question, attempt it.


  • UPSC intends to guage our ethics and morality, therefore our answers must reflect originality and should appear natural.
  • You can pick any book and skim the topics provided by UPSC in the syllabus. attempt to have conceptual understanding of the topics in order that you’ll write them in your own words at anytime.
  • Prepare definition of all keywords and key phrases of the syllabus in your own simple words and check out to write down them in the exam.
  • Collect some important terms associated with ethics to use them across answers to form your answer look more authentic.
  • You can use samples of real personalities in your answers. Examples from our lifestyle can add originality to answers.
  • Try to incorporate different philosophies like Utilitarianism, Teleology, Deontology, etc while writing answers and always support the ideology which respects human dignity.
  • While writing cases, you’ll adopt Introduction-Body-Conclusion method. Attempt to evolve different possible options and support the choice which is most appropriate and ethical.
  • In this paper, articulation is rewarded immensely. If you write simple, coherent and lucid answers, you actually will get good marks. And articulation are often achieved only through incessant writing.


  • Choose optional very carefully as you’ll got to spend 2-3 years during this field with the optional subject.
  • Choice should totally be supported on one’s interest. One can know ones interest by reading NCERTs.
  • Prepare the optional paper thoroughly in order that you’re assured of getting good marks.
  • Try to finish it a minimum of once before the prelims in order that you become conscious of the topics and therefore the content of the paper.
  • Consult PYQ(Previous Year Questions) to know the demand and the pattern. In optional more often than not, questions are repeated so check out PYQs of a minimum of 5 years.
  • Answer writing practice is additionally needed here so as to extend the writing speed and retention.
  • One must strive to enter into the “ELITE GROUP OF 300 MARKS” to urge desired service and cadre.


  • Like GS4, this paper also intends to see the values of a candidate. It provides a chance to precise ourselves and our values clearly and to possess an impact over the examiner.
  • Write a minimum of 8-10 essays before getting to the examination hall and obtain it checked by teachers or peers.
  • Always choose the subject which you’re strong at. Write simple language, keep examiner curious about the essay and always choose smooth transition from one paragraph to a different . attempt to include various dimensions like social, economic, political, etc.
  • One can prepare notes on evergreen topics like global climate change , Terrorism, Women empowerment, etc. Otherwise, the fodder of GS would be quite sufficient to write down an honest essay.

Personality test

  • It’s a test of the personality and not of data which have already been tested in previous examinations.
  • Since personality can’t be changed in few days so present before the board what you’re .
  • Be Confident, Cool, Calm, Composed and have a positive attitude. And marks in test totally depend upon how you portray yourself in the interview hall. You’ve got to sell yourself by proving that you simply are the simplest candidate with the beliefs that are grounded.
  • Prepare your DAF thoroughly as most of the questions would originate from there. aside from this, you’ll revise your graduation material , optional subject.
  • Be aware of current happenings in India and round the world and check out to create opinion on these issues.
  • Have a balanced approach with an optimistic posture.

General tips

  • Optional, GS4 and Essay play a really crucial role in selection. attempt to have grip over these papers.
  • Take the language papers very seriously. Almost 10% candidates fail to clear the language papers itself. Once you fail in these papers, none of your other papers would be checked. and full diligence will enter vain.
  • Take UPSC as a way and not as an end. It shouldn’t be anyone’s life but a neighborhood of it. Enjoy the method , learn new things and live it out.
  • You must have a reason for stepping into the Civil services. It might be anything- welfare work , prestige, social station , relationship, etc. Ups and Downs are the part and parcel of this process and you ought to be able to deal with it with help of your reason. it’ll assist you getting internal motivation which may be a thousand-fold stronger than the external motivations.
  • Be consistent, don’t be relentless. Your persistent carelessness may cause consistent failure.
  • Beware of self proclaimed UPSC “Experts” who keep it up unfurling the so called perfect strategies. These experts are misguiding candidates within the disguise of helping them. they’re usually found at tea stalls in on youtube, in libraries etc.
  • Strategies are very personal thing. What worked on behalf of me may or might not work for you. every one has his own unique way of doing things.
  • Keep moving, don’t attend to who is saying what. Don’t waste time on things which aren’t in your control.
  • Always remember that If you don’t roll in the hay , somebody else will. It’s a contest and you would like to urge comparative advantage over others so as to ascertain your name within the “sacred list”.